Travelodge UK

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This article is about the Travelodge brand in Europe. For the Travelodge brand elsewhere in the world, see Travelodge.
Travelodge Hotels Limited
Type Private limited company
Industry Hospitality
Founded 1985 (1985)
Headquarters Thame, England, UK
Number of locations 456 hotels in UK[1]
11 hotels in Ireland[1]
3 hotels in Spain[2]
Area served United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
Spain
Key people Keith Hamill (Chairman)
Peter Gowers(CEO)
Products Hotels
Revenue Increase £331.7m (2010)[1]
Operating income Increase £153.5m (EBITDAR)[1]
Increase £48.5m (EBITDA) (2010)[1]
Profit Increase £27.0m (2010)[1]
Total assets Increase £888.4m (net) (2010)[1]
Owners Goldentree Asset Management, Avenue Capital Group and Goldman Sachs [3]
Employees 6,000 (full and part-time) (2011)[1]
Parent Endell Group Holdings Ltd (ultimate parent company)[1]
Website www.travelodge.co.uk

Travelodge Hotels Limited is a private company operating in the hotels and hospitality industry throughout the United Kingdom. Branded simply as Travelodge, it is the second largest in the budget hotel sector (behind Premier Inn) and third biggest hotel chain in the UK by number of bedrooms (31,600 at the end of 2010).[1]

Travelodge Hotels Ltd is under separate ownership from the Travelodge chain of the United States.

Company history[edit]

A city centre Travelodge in York.

Forte[edit]

In the 1980s, Lord Forte bought the US Travelodge brand and established it in Britain. He attached them to many of his Little Chefs as Little Lodge before later rebranding them as Travelodges.

Travelodge was formerly a division of Forte Hotels, and was known as Forte Travelodge. Since then, it has become a company in its own right and has over four hundred Travelodge hotels, mainly located beside motorways and major roads, although more and more hotels are being opened in city centres. The first hotel was opened in 1985 at Barton-under-Needwood on the A38 near Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Granada[edit]

In 1995, it was bought by Granada, when the Forte Group (formerly Trusthouse Forte) underwent a very unharmonious hostile takeover. In 2001, when Granada de-merged (creating Moto), it became owned by Compass Group. In 2003, it was acquired by Permira under the name of TLLC Group Holdings Ltd (113 Little Chefs, owned by TLLC, were nextdoor to Travelodges), moving its headquarters from Toddington in Bedfordshire to Thame in Oxfordshire in June 2003.[4]

In 2004, it bought the Drury Lane Moat House hotel for £11m, and the London Farringdon and London Islington Thistle hotels.[5] In July of that year, it decided to sell 136 of its hotels for £400m, then lease them back.[6]

Dubai International Capital[edit]

In August 2006, it was sold to Dubai International Capital (DIC), a United Arab Emirates-based company, for £675 million.

In mid-2010, Travelodge bought 52 Innkeeper's Lodge properties from the Mitchells & Butlers pub chain, leaving less than half the original number of Innkeeper's Lodge hotels. In 2011, Travelodge announced a tie-up with British supermarket Waitrose to develop three joint sites in the UK.[7]

Travelodge UK also operate eleven hotels in the Republic of Ireland and three hotels in Spain, with expansion plans announced in 2011 for fifty more hotels in Spain with its development partner Citygrove.[8]

Financial restructuring in 2012[edit]

In February 2012, DIC had to prepare a bailout package due to a large debt of £478 million that was added to Travelodge's balance sheet following its purchase; despite significant earnings since 2006, these could not cover the debt repayments and the company recorded a debt of £517m in 2011.[9] The company undertook a financial restructure during April 2012, with ownership passing to New York-based hedge funds Goldentree Asset Management and Avenue Capital Group, as well as Goldman Sachs.[10] On 17 August 2012 Travelodge UK confirmed[11] that the financial restructuring would be through a company voluntary arrangement which would include:

  • At least £75m of new money being injected into the Company.
  • £55m being invested into a major refurbishment programme across the estate, covering over 11,000 rooms and 175 hotels. The refurbishment programme was due to start in early 2013 and continue through to summer 2014.
  • Bank debt of £235m will be written off and £71m repaid, reducing total bank debt from £635m to £329m.

However, Travelodge also stated that it was no longer viable to operate 49 hotels (8% of the estate), for which the company would now seek new operators.

Branches closed or transferred to other hotel operator include:-

Britannia - Edinburgh Belford. Ibis - Blackpool. Independents -Bolton Services, Eastbourne, Edinburgh Haymarket, Manchester Airport, Manchester Worsley and Wentbridge. Metro Inns - Huddersfield, Liphook and Walsall. Shut Down - Coventry, Sutton Scotney (North and South).

Although Travelodge has closed or transferred some of its branches, it is hoping to benefit from Scotland’s tourism boom from the 2014 Commonwealth Games by building ten new hotels north of the border through a £75m investment. With its 2012 profits crisis now firmly behind it, Travelodge feels it’s strong enough to go head to head with its biggest rival Premier Inn. [12]

Facilities[edit]

A new room design has been introduced in new buildings, and newly refurbished hotels; featuring a new colour scheme and LCD TVs. In most hotels, there are double rooms, family rooms and disabled rooms. All rooms feature en-suite bathroom, free tea & coffee. A charged for wi-fi internet connection is available at all hotels.[13]

Dining[edit]

Eating and drinking facilities vary a great deal between locations. Some of the older roadside locations have nothing but the hotel itself and a petrol station, with no particular provision for meals. Some are located beside a Little Chef, although this is becoming less common (Little Chef and Travelodge were previously owned by the same company). Many hotel sites are next door to a Harvester or Toby Carvery restaurant.

Many Moto service stations have a Travelodge attached, and some hotels may be close to a pub or family restaurant. In town and city centre locations, licensed 'Bar Cafes' within the hotel are common, serving both breakfast and evening meals. The breakfast buffet features a selection of hot and cold food including traditional hot breakfast items and also continental items. Cereal and toast is also available.

Some hotels in the Republic of Ireland are next to a Metzo restaurant.

Criticism[edit]

Overbooking[edit]

A typical Travelodge room

On 24 October 2006 the BBC One Watchdog programme highlighted Travelodge's policy of overbooking their hotels, turning guests away even when they have booked against a credit card.[14] When a whistleblower revealed that overbooking comes before anything else, Travelodge admitted to this practice and updated their website to confirm this. Guests who are found in this position are found accommodation in a nearby Travelodge at no cost to them, but if no rooms are available nearby the reservation is cancelled and the customer is refunded to the payee's card. Travelodge say that overbooking is so more guests can make use of rooms that would otherwise be empty; however, the whistleblower programme contained footage of an internal Travelodge training video which stated that their business model required them to run all their hotels at maximum capacity, and that a 'last man standing' policy would ensure this always occurred.

Plymouth advertising[edit]

To advertise its new location in Plymouth in 2004, Travelodge ran a poster campaign using the phrase "Other hotels in Plymouth fleece you, we prefer duvets" which was not well received by other hotels in the area and was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority.[15]

David and Jean Davidson's stay[edit]

In 2007, media around the world reported that David and Jean Davidson, a retired couple originally from Sheffield, had stayed at Travelodges in Newark, Worksop and Grantham for a combined total of 22 years, making each lodge their home.[16] The retired naval sailor and his wheelchair-using wife found the cost of their stay comparable with living in a house, but with the benefits of maid service and without added costs such as council tax and utilities.[17] Following their departure, at least one lodge named their room "The Davidson Suite".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Travelodge Hotels Limited, Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2010, dated 13 June 2011
  2. ^ Through sister company, Travelodge Hoteles Espana SL (Spain), as reported in Endell Group Holdings Limited, Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2010, dated 3 March 2011
  3. ^ Thomas, Nathalie (17 August 2012). "Travelodge agrees financial restructuring". Daily Telegraph, London. 
  4. ^ "Compass sells Little Chef and Travelodge". BBC. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "Press release: TRAVELODGE NOW OFFERS EVEN MORE LOW-COST CENTRAL LONDON HOTEL ROOMS - ROOMS RATES START AT JUST £45 IN CENTRAL LONDON - TRAVELODGE OPENS TRAVELODGE LONDON ISLINGTON AND TRAVELODGE LONDON FARRINGDON". Travelodge. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  6. ^ Times Online
  7. ^ The Independent 28 November 2011
  8. ^ The Independent 1 May 2011
  9. ^ The Telegraph 20 February 2012
  10. ^ Hotelier Middle East 15 April 2012
  11. ^ Press Release. "Travelodge agrees financial restructuring and initiates a Company Voluntary Arrangement". Travelodge UK. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.movehut.co.uk/news/commonwealth-games-drives-travelodges-75m-scottish-expansion-22716/
  13. ^ WiFi available at all hotels now
  14. ^ "Travelodge". Consumer - Reports. bbc.co.uk. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 18 June 2007. "Watchdog researchers booked three rooms at a Travelodge in London. Each went to check in late at night but well within Travelodge's terms and conditions. All were told the hotel was full and that, despite their bookings, there were no rooms available." 
  15. ^ BBC News, Marketing campaign upsets hotel owners in 2004
  16. ^ Stokes, Paul (12 September 2007). "Telegraph". News (London: telegraph.co.uk). Retrieved 3 October 2007. "Pensioners David and Jean Davidson found living in a Travelodge hotel was a cheaper option than an old people's home and have never looked back." 
  17. ^ "Daily Mail". News. dailymail.co.uk. 11 September 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2007. "We have everything we need here - and the staff are like family now. We only have to walk across the car park for meals" 

External links[edit]